By Estate Manager Bryan Peele

Dear Mr. Woodley: Butler Q&A

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“Dear Mr. Woodley” is the column of Estate Managers Coalition resident butler, Crispin Woodley, who will answer your questions about all things “butler-esque.”

From proper introductions to thieving guests – to handling undermining children – to how to let Madam know that her outfit is simply inappropriate, Mr. Woodley advises with the knowledge and flare of European etiquette and protocol which only a fine butler understands.

Dear Mr. Woodley,

I attended a birthday party the other night and was introduced to a friend of the hosts. Immediately the host’s friend asked me what line of work I was in and I told him that I owned a concierge company catering to the personal service industry.  He quickly rummaged around in his front pants pocket and pulled out a crumpled business card, handing it to me single-handedly, face down. This struck me as very odd and I wanted to ask your advice on the proper handling of business cards. 
 
Sincerely,  
Deirdre Fisk, Rhapsody Concierge Services
emc avjet event
Dear Ms. Fisk:

The entire episode you described is very troubling. First, it is incredibly rude to ask someone you have just met what he or she does for a living, and handing out a business card at a social function is taboo.  It implies pretense and shows oneself to have a very shallow personality.  There are so many topics to discuss: travel, where you live and why you love it, how you both know the host or hostess, etc. (warning: stay away from politics, religion, money and children – really – don’t talk about your kids).

Can you ask someone what line of work they are in later in the conversation?  Yes, if you have made a definite connection with the person and are genuinely interested.   If you both find it beneficial to pursue a business relationship, just exchange phone numbers with a promise to get in touch soon and then go about mingling with the other guests. But please, do not hand out a business card at a social function!

Second, the actual handing and receiving of the business card in question was in poor taste.  A business card – to the owner –  should be very sacred and treated as such.  Always keep your business cards in a tasteful case and not thrown haphazardly in a pocket or purse. Take good care of them – after all – they represent you.  When presenting someone your business card, do so with two hands! Position the proper side of the card facing your new acquaintance, so that they are able to read it without flipping it this way and that.  They should take the card in both of their hands and look at it, turning it over to see the back as well.  Then a polite comment about the business card is suggested, such as: “I like your choice of logo, how did you choose it?”  Or, “I see you are a member of the Estate Manager’s Coalition – I am as well!”  After this, please do not place their card in your pocket or purse, rather put it in the same case where you keep your business cards or a separate case meant just for your contacts.

When you get home you may import your confrères information into your contacts by hand – or scan it with your Smartphone and store in an editable database that may also be transferred to your contacts – retaining the image of the card – very easy! Here is an article on seven tested business card apps.

business cards

 

What Every Estate Manager Should Know About Air Duct Cleaning

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Post by guest estate manager Martha Locke featuring Estate Managers Coalition member Fresh Aire Duct Cleaning.

Summer is winding down and I had the thought that this must be the perfect time to do some essential duct cleaning.  The windows have been left open for a few months – many estates do not use screens – animals are darting inside and out bringing all sorts of impurities with them, the breeze has been blowing throughout the home, spreading allergens, etc.

Not knowing anything about indoor air quality, I asked Diane Leriche at Fresh Aire Duct Cleaning to school me!  If I am armed with the right information I will be able to keep the air in my principal’s estate fresh and clean, ensure the fine furnishings and artwork are not being damaged and make sure the family and their pets are staying healthy.

fresh aire duct cleaning

I found out that there is no set time of the year to clean air ducts – anytime is a good time.  Pet dander gets pulled into the system and builds up all year long.  Germs and bacteria thrive in a dirty air environment and circulate throughout the home every time the system is used.   That said, Fresh Aire advises having air ducts cleaned well before the summer heat is in full force, especially if your principal cranks the AC during the summer months.  (FYI – many people wait too late and attempt to schedule duct cleaning during the summer heat, making it difficult to get the appointment they want – due to so many requests!)

Fresh Aire cleans anywhere the air blows.  First, all systems must be turned off during the cleaning (temperature controlled systems can be reset after cleaning by your air conditioning contractor).  The HVAC unit is opened up and all the parts are cleaned.  Fresh Aire then moves throughout the estate, covering each work area in order to protect the home and prevent the cleaned areas from being re-contaminated.

fresh aire duct cleaning

The ductwork is located behind the walls and the tubing is similar to a tree with branches. Then the vents in each room are removed so that the inside of the ducts are easily accessed.

The vent is cleaned and then a high-powered air wash brushing system is used to scrub down each “branch.”

This brush is on a flexible cable and is snaked down the duct line back and forth to remove all the old dirt.  During the brushing step, the dirt is sucked out of the system by use of a high-powered negative air vacuum system.  When this is completed, the entire system will blow fresh and clean once again.

Rodents and other vermin can be difficult to remove from a home as they use the duct system to travel, hide and escape being caught.

Fresh Aire combats this problem by using a camera to inspect inside the ducts prior to cleaning.  Also, rodents have been known to damage the inside of the duct system and this needs to be assessed prior to beginning any cleaning.  With the camera they are also able to document the extent of contamination so they understand exactly what they are dealing with.
air duct
Per an allergy doctor, should the family you work for have allergies, asthma or other health sensitivities, the system should be cleaned once a year.  Otherwise, it is best to clean the system every two to four years.  This will ensure clean air quality and prevent excessive dust and dirt from blowing out of the vents and circulating throughout the house.  Pets also suffer from the same sensitivities as their owners so a clean air duct system is important for their health as well.

Another very important benefit to keeping air ducts clean is that a dust free environment is vital in preserving your principal’s art collection and fine furnishings.  Additionally, a clean HVAC unit does not have to work as hard as a dirty system, resulting in home savings in energy bills.  As an estate manager, protecting our principal’s valuables and saving them money at the same time is an important part of our role.

Fresh Aire Duct Cleaning

Fresh Aire Duct Cleaning is a family owned business, founded in 1979 by Daniel and Diane Leriche.  Their expertise includes all types of HVAC duct systems, dryers, exhausts and ventilating systems.  They are referred by hundreds of contractors, have earned the reputation of being the Vendor Choice for Estate Homes and take pride in delivering the finest service possible in a professional, friendly and efficient manner. 

Allied Restoration Services: 4 Questions to Ask a Dry Down Company

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Tim Bauer, Allied Restoration Service Inc.’s Director of Customer Relations, helps break down the process of dealing with property damage and the insurance company in this post.

Allied Restoration Services, Inc. are licensed insurance restoration professionals experienced in addressing the environmental issues damaged property may cause.  This is especially helpful when an estate manager is attempting to present a claim to their insurance company for the damage.

allied restorations

Post by guest Estate Managers Coalition corporate member Allied Restoration Services.

Recently, we found ourselves in the home of a prominent American Composer. His back house had started to smell like mold, so he called out a company referred by his plumber to try and help. They were relieved to let someone else take over the headache. The company opened up the house and started working, setting up fans and dehumidifiers.
We were called out to inspect after the insurance company had denied coverage and the mold was getting worse. It turns out that the company they called out had blown mold spores all over the house due to improper set up and racked up a $15,000 bill that was not paid for by the carrier. The contractor was threatening legal action for the unpaid balance.
The Estate Manager’s first question to us was: What did we do wrong?”

We buy insurance hoping to never use it. When we finally do, the claims process can be tedious and finding someone you can trust is a challenge. To protect yourself when you do, we suggest asking a mitigation contractor these 5 questions before the job starts:

1.What happens if my claim gets denied?

Although a contractor cannot make a determination of coverage, they should have a good idea whether or not your loss will be covered. By asking this question, you find out what the company’s policy will be if it isn’t. Are they going to send you to collections or threaten legal action?

As in the case of the composer, many mitigation companies will threaten legal action if these bills are not paid.  At Allied Restoration, any time we have a sense that we are on a claim that has the potential to be denied, we go over estimated costs up front to prepare the homeowner before proceeding.

2. Is there a less destructive approach?

Damage mitigation should resemble surgery more than demolition. Wherever possible and reasonable, high end items like hard flooring, cabinets and countertops should be preserved. On the other hand, equipment should not be used to save finish items that are beyond saving.  If a wall is wet, a strategic decision should be made on which side to dry from based on the contents of the room and if there are any wall coverings or hard to match finishes.

One of our video testimonials, Nancy O’Dell had a pipe leak in her bathroom that dripped into her formal dining room. Instead of opening a priceless wooden ceiling, we found a way to access it from the bathroom. The tile floor was about a tenth of the price and there isn’t a craftsman alive that would have been able to recreate Nancy’s beautiful ceiling. Mitigation should be more creative than destructive.

3. What will you do if you find mold?

We’ve all heard horror stories stemming from mold. Mold must be remediated wisely for a few reasons:
a) most policies have limited amounts of mold coverage.
b) mold can be a sign of long term damage which could mean a denial of a claim.
c) mold can spread with improper handling.

When we find mold at Allied Restoration, our policy is to immediately contain it using plastic or tape, and interface with the insurance broker and/or adjuster and advise the property owner about next steps.

4. What is your experience with my insurance company?

You want to make sure that you are dealing with a company who knows how to bill your carrier for their services as well as knows what the carrier is likely (and unlikely) to cover.
Many mitigation companies who rely on plumber referrals have a adversarial relationship with insurance companies. Mitigation companies pay plumbers upwards of $750-$1,500 for referring and they have to make that back somewhere by leaving behind too much or more expensive equipment than needed.
Will your insurance company pay for all that? Maybe. If the insurance company refuses to pay for the excess equipment, the contractor could come after you for the unpaid portion.
There is an actual science to drying down a home called psychometrics. At Allied Restoration, we always use the latest calculations to figure out what and how much equipment to leave.

How can I find a good company?

The best thing you can do is to ask a trusted advisor for a recommendation of a restoration company. Oftentimes, that is your insurance broker or a business manager. A responsible insurance broker should always want to play an active role in your claim and controlling the vendors involved is a big way to make sure things go seamlessly.
Shameless plug incoming: one of your greatest resources for finding someone you can trust is the Estate Managers Coalition! Take advantage of the incredible resources and vendors available to you.
If you ever have a flood or fire in your home, as a member of EMC, Allied Restoration is always glad to come out and give you an unpaid consultation, even if you’ve hired another company to do the work.

How To Enhance The Security & Safety Of Your Principal

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Post by guest estate manager Martha Locke featuring Estate Managers Coalition member Precision Security & Protective Services (PSPS).

I wanted to find out more about Precision Security & Protective Services (PSPS) and understand the ways I could enhance my principal’s security, so I asked certified instructor and member of their Special Weapons and Tactics Team, Vince Vaicaro.

This is what Vince had to say.

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Martha: Who is Precision Security & Protective Services and what is your background?

Vince:  Precision Security and Protection Services is owned and operated by four Law Enforcement Officers with over 60 years combined experience.
Martha: Tell me about Precision Security’s experience.
Vince: We have over 40 years combined experience in Private Security and Protection details ranging from: planning and deployment of security at the Academy Awards to Estate protection.
Martha: What types of security do you provide?

Vince:  Everything in the private sector from all Armed Security needs (estate protection, event planning and protection, etc.), unarmed security needs, background investigations (full background checks to pre-employment screenings and drug testing), full service Cyber Security, ranging from assessments, monitoring and reporting. We also conduct training classes for civilians in topics ranging from Emergency Preparedness to Cyber Security Classes that will open their eyes to how vulnerable they really are and provide them with a wealth of knowledge.

 

Martha: If a principal does not have a security team on staff, what are some tips to protect the home and grounds?

 

Vince: Each property will bring different challenges when it comes to protecting the home. There are so many variables when it comes to each location’s vulnerabilities. There are also many  ways to find the weak points in security. In today’s world protection should be looked at from multiple angles. You may have the best automated security system there is, but if you are not monitoring and protecting your network (that everything runs on) then your security system is useless – because it can easily be taken over from the outside. One form of security is not enough today. If you want to protect your estate and feel safe, you need layered security.

Image via Hollywood Reporter | The Agency Real Estate

Martha:  Is an alarm system enough to prevent intruders or is additional security a good idea? If so, what?

 

Vince: You will deter a good portion of criminals with a basic alarm. However, if an offender understands how alarms work and knows how much time they have until local Law Enforcement Officers arrive, then the alarm will do little to stop them. Alarm systems that are backed by a second form of security will really add to the protection value. Security alarms help protect from the “crimes of opportunity” {when valuables – purse for example – are left in vehicle in plain sight. The window will get smashed and the item is taken quickly.}  The crime would’ve never occurred if the valuable was locked in the trunk, and not easily accessible. During interviews of suspects involved in these types of crimes, they openly admit that if nothing of value is in plain sight, they will move on until they locate valuables that are.  Residential burglary alarms present a hurdle that criminals do not want to overcome, which deters them from attempting to commit crimes in these homes. Criminals will continue to move on until they find and locate that target with easy access and very few, if any hurdles to overcome.

 

Martha:  Is it a good idea for an estate manager to take some sort of self-defense class?

 

Vince:  It is a good idea for anyone to take a self-defense class, as long as you remember that it is self- defense and should only be used as a last resort. The best self-defense class will touch on self-awareness. It is more important to be aware of your surroundings and keep yourself from stepping into a situation where you will need to protect yourself. There are so many teaching points in regards to self-awareness that will help you in making those decisions to always put yourself in the right place.  These are all points I really drive home in my Emergency Preparedness class.

 

Martha:  If I am out in the public with my principal and a suspicious person approaches them, what can I do to protect them immediately?

 

Vince:  There are many scenarios that could occur with this situation. First, this depends on the principal: Are they well known? What is the threat level towards them, their family, etc.? What are they comfortable with and how far do they want to let things go before any action is taken?  Clearing up these few topics ahead of time will help you to draw up a course of action so you are prepared.

 

When you decide that you need to remove your principal from the area, the process of removal / extraction and or protection takes place. This can go many different ways also.

 

Martha:  What do you believe makes Precision Security so successful?

Vince:  The close bond we have formed has helped propel us forward as a team.  Not only do we work extremely well together, we really love what we do and it shows. When you love what you do, you want to improve upon it and strive to be the best you can be.  This is our key ingredient to the success of Precision Security Protective Services!

MIND, BODY & SOUL: EMC NYC MASTER CLASS WITH ZEN JEN

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sisley paris nyc

Recap by Maria Carter, EMC NYC President. 

The EMC NYC Masterclass at Sisley Paris was one to remember!

ZenJen, NYC based world traveling yoga and meditation teacher, lead us into a mini mediation to calm our minds and spirits.

The Sisley Paris staff made us feel beautiful with their facial, make-up, massage and eye rejuvenation services. It was an evening of beauty makeovers! All guests left with a gift bag from Sisley Paris filled with wonderful skincare treatments. Our evening would not be complete without centerpieces from L’Olivier Floral Atelier.

See more photos from the event on Estate Managers Coalition Facebook.

estate managers coalition NYC event | Zen Jen Sisley paris

04estate managers coalition NYC event | Zen Jen Sisley paris

estate managers coalition NYC event | Zen Jen Sisley paris estate managers coalition NYC event | Zen Jen Sisley paris

 

ANGELENO EXPERTS FEATURE: BEST RESTAURANTS IN LA

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angeleno magazine restaurant issue 2016 best Los Angeles restaurants

Thank you Angeleno Magazine for including me in The Restaurant Issue 2016! In Angeleno Experts, I share my current favorite restaurant in Los Angeles, Baltaire in Brentwood.

Be sure to pick up a copy or check out the digital version at modernluxury.com, and experience Baltaire for yourself at 11647 San Vicente Blvd.

angeleno magazine restaurant issue 2016 best Los Angeles restaurants

Baltaire Brentwood

Baltaire Brentwood

BRYAN-TOLOGY: SERVICE DONE RIGHT AT BACCARAT HOTEL

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Photo c/o Egg Canvas

Photo c/o Egg Canvas

Photo c/o Egg Canvas

Photo c/o Egg Canvas

When it comes to opulence, Baccarat Hotel in New York nails it. 

While visiting New York as part of Estate Managers Coalition expansion on the East Coast, I got to experience its lavishness first hand. Here’s your peek into it!

This is Kelvin – the best doorman in New York.

Baccarat hotel morning service luxury

Here’s service done right… Arrived promptly at 4:45 simultaneously as my wake up call. Notice how they think ahead by providing you with a to go cup!

Baccarat hotel morning service luxury

Rooms also come stocked with treats from Laduree.

Baccarat hotel laduree macaroons

The room. I didn’t want to leave!

EMC MEMBER APPRECIATION SOCIAL

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EMC along with our media sponsor Angeleno Modern Luxury and the showroom Graye celebrated our members in February for a massively attended “member appreciation” event. DJ Balthazar Getty was on hand to spin and Black Lab Ventures provided tasty bespoke beverages.

Photography by Tom Pascucci, Video Syndicate

See more photos on Facebook.com/estatemanagerscoalition.

tom@videosyndicate.com07 bryan and The Agency's Paul Lestertom@videosyndicate.com11 tom@videosyndicate.com14 tom@videosyndicate.com15 tom@videosyndicate.com16 tom@videosyndicate.com20 tom@videosyndicate.com43

HOTEL FEATURE: THE BEAUMONT, MAYFAIR, LONDON

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Beaumont Hotel London

Greetings from London!

If you’re planning a trip to London in 2016, we’ve got a tip for you. If you don’t, the Beaumont Hotel is good enough of a reason to make you rethink your travel plans.

As estate managers, we get to travel to some of the most exciting properties around the world on behalf of our principals. But rarely do we find ourselves completely blown away.

Beaumont Hotel in London is one such instance. It’s truly one of the most tasteful hotels in the world with outstanding service (Conde Nast Gold List 2016).

The concierge, Michael, can make ANYTHING happen, even the smallest requests. In the dining room also ask for Michael (one of the servers).

Beaumont Hotel London

4 Ways To Ring The New Year In Style

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Originally published in Valley Scene Magazine, New Year’s Eve Issue 2015
Celebrity holiday party

Take it from someone who has planned a lavish last minute New Year’s Eve bash for a pop star, all it takes is some ingenuity, the right caterer and a whole lot of hustle to create a magical night for your guests.

As an estate manager in Los Angeles I have worked with many a celebrity, and what’s hot right now is customized experiences that are personal, imaginative and original. You don’t need a million dollars to throw a chic shindig, just a little bit of creativity, fabulous food and a cork to pop at midnight. I’m going to share some of my top tips and favorite Los Angeles resources to create a night to remember and to ring in 2016 in style.

1. If you have the budget for a caterer it will not only free you up to mingle with guests, it will take away all that pre-party prep of shopping, cooking, storing and stressing. A few of my favorite L.A. caterers that always bring exquisite cuisine to the table include Choux Choux and L.A. Spice Catering. Additionally, Two Peas Inc. provides a drop-off option if you are serving hors d’oeuvres and would like everything ready to roll when your guests arrive.

2. Choose a signature cocktail to serve before midnight. I like something simple and festive like a pomegranate martini. Wait until midnight to pop that symbolic cork and to serve up the best champagne you can afford. If you want to hire a bartender, I use Black Lab, an eco-friendly mixology catering company, they create seasonal and custom cocktails that will have your guests swooning.

3. Create something personal for each guest. For New Year’s Eve I would create a small chic gift bag with symbolic tokens for the upcoming year; gold coins to represent prosperity, fortunes you can print out on your own with intentions or wishes for the year and gourmet chocolates for a bit of sweet in 2016.

4. For a festive ambiance, you can never go wrong with candles, and then more candles. Use glitzy party hats and gold and white balloons to add a celebratory element.

Diptyque-gift-set

And, a party just isn’t a party without music. Whether you like jazz or hip-hop or classics like Tony Bennett, make sure you can hear music throughout the house, it sets the tone for the whole event.

I have planned hundreds of events for all types of parties and all types of people, and the one common thread for a successful event is good food, good drinks and good friends. With a little bit of thought and whole lot of heart, you can create a magical New Year’s Eve for your friends and family. Bryan Peele is an estate manager extraordinaire, man about town and the founder and president of the Estate Managers Coalition, a non-profit organization that manages the lives and estates of A-listers worldwide.

Representing America’s most powerful families and ultra-high-net-worth- individuals, EMC members understand how to impeccably manage the homes and lifestyles of the 1%, and they set the standards throughout the industry. As a connoisseur of all things luxury, Mr. Peele is a sought-after speaker and collaborates with deluxe brands and products that value his knowledge regarding how ultra-high-net-worth-individuals wish to spend their disposable income. As the industry trailblazer, Mr. Peele has also created a global consultancy that provides concierge staffing and consulting services for A-listers worldwide from pops stars and billionaires to movie moguls and celebrities.